Olympian Phaidra Knight visits the UNH Women’s Rugby Club

The Charger Bulletin

By Annalisa Berardinelli

Senior Sarah Alley founded the University of New Haven Women’s Rugby Club in the spring 2014 semester. The club has slowly grown to 37 members and is actively competing in matches. The two coaches, Ray Peterson and Alycia Washington, have been training and educating the team about the sport in order to help them play safely, as well as become strong competitors.

Phaidra Knight visited the UNH Women's Rugby Club
Phaidra Knight visited the UNH Women’s Rugby Club (AP Photo)

Coach Peterson was able to connect with international-athlete Phaidra Knight through his many connections made during his rugby career.

As a result, on Thurs. Sept 18, the UNH Women’s Rugby Club had Knight come to practice. She plays for the USA Women’s National 15’s Team, has played in five different World Cups all over the world, and was deemed USA Rugby’s Player of the Decade in 2010.

Knight also was a member of the USA Women’s National 7’s Team until 2009 and is now trying to become one of the first women to compete on the Rugby 7’s Team in the Olympics in Brazil 2016.

The UNH Women’s Rugby Club invited Yale to come practice with them in order for them to benefit from the experience and advice from Knight. Having her come to practice was truly an amazing experience for both teams. She spoke to them about overall wellness, practicing safely, yet intensely, and about her love for the game. She then stayed for the entire two hours of practice to help the team in various drills and give advice on techniques and plays.

Becca Sicco, the Secretary for the UNH Women’s Rugby Club, commented on what it was like to have Knight come to practice. “Just listening to Phaidra talk, whether it was about rugby or just life in general was inspirational,” Sicco said. “It was amazing that she even took the time to come and help us out at practice, I know it meant a lot to the girls and me. She helped us so much with our techniques and we really learned a lot from her. I can’t wait to hopefully see her play in the Olympics!”

The UNH Women’s Rugby Club is rapidly developing and doing everything they can possibly do to become the best they can possibly be. Their current record is 1-1. The next match is Oct. 5 on Kayo Field at 4:30 p.m. against UCONN.